Now that the smoke has cleared and the video game industry stands triumphant over the state of California in the Supreme Court battle over making it a crime to sell violent games to minors, the Entertainment Software Association needs to pay its lawyers. Why hello there, California taxpayers.
For six years the state of California battled against the video game industry in order to get a law passed that would impose stiff penalties on retailers that sold violent video games to underage children. If passed, the law would have set a precedent that would ripple through the entire entertainment industry, from movie theaters to bookstores to retailers that still stock and sell CDs.
But after taking the battle all the way to the ultimate authority in the land, the Supreme Court of the United States, California lost, and now the ESA wants them to pay.
Today the ESA filed a United States Supreme Court motion for reimbursement of $1.1 million in attorneys' fees from the State of California. The money would come directly from taxpayers, of course, which is where California got the money it spent paying its attorneys for the fruitless legal struggle in the first place.
Says the ESA, "California persisted in defending a law that Plaintiffs warned the Legislature was unconstitutional before it was passed; that was previously found to be unconstitutional by the district court and a unanimous panel of the Ninth Circuit; and that is similar to at least eight other laws invalidated as unconstitutional prior to the time that California sought certiorari in this case."
In other words, California knew what it was getting into, and this is the cost.
"We look forward to moving forward and working together to raise awareness about the valuable tools and information available to parents," said Michael D. Gallagher, CEO of the ESA, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. "From the start of this misguided legislation, then-Governor Schwarzenegger and specific California legislators knew that their efforts to censor and restrict expression were, as court after court ruled, unconstitutional and thus a waste of taxpayers' money, government time, and state resources."
Schwarzenegger is now safely back in the arms of Hollywood, free from the stigma of public office, where wasting millions of dollars in taxpayers' money and having illegitimate children with the help is frowned upon.